Amidst the industrial landscape of James Street, in the close confines of a dark and intimately lit room of the Cueball Snooker Club, resides the University of York Pool and Snooker Club. With football on the telly and a few pints in evidence it belies its location in the middle of York’s industrial heartland as it lends itself to a welcoming and informal atmosphere.
It is not immediately apparent that this is a club that regularly wins 100 BUCS points, around twenty percent of York’s overall haul, and last year won York Sport’s team of the year. The Pool and Snooker Club is immensely successful but perhaps never receives the praise it deserves.
With its membership comprising both ex-county players and those new to the game, it offers something for all those with a love of the sport or simply wanting to try something new.
With my knowledge of pool and snooker limited to occasional (and rather desperate) attempts to take on my friend in his back garden, I sought explanation to the difference between the two games. It seems snooker focuses more on patience and an ability to read where the next shot is headed, whereas pool is perhaps more aggressive and based on potting.
Whilst pool and snooker may be thought of more in connection with spending a relaxing afternoon with one’s friends than serious competition, the society boasts a wide variety of competitions and teams with many of its members having played in Nottingham this weekend. With individuals competing against other universities in 8 and 9 ball formats as well as snooker, there are a wealth of opportunities for those wanting to test themselves at the highest level.
“Last year between our first and second team we reached four championship finals and three trophy finals“
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There is even a college circuit, with teams comprising five boys and two girls taking place on a Thursday evening. With a desire to encourage participation at the heart of it one person pointed out that with “college pool limited to two BUCS players, anyone can play.” With an “FA cup style” internal knockout tournament available to all, there is every opportunity available for competitive play.
Indeed it seems that pool at York is, in the words of one individual, “on the up” as interest has made it one of the “busiest years so far.” Another said she decided to join the society because she had been “playing college pool and wanted to get more involved.” Liam Condron summed up the spirit of the place as he said, “it’s quite friendly, just come down and have a few games of pool whenever you want.”
But this is not a club of just participation. To say so would undermine the excellence the club offers. For years the club has enjoyed a rich vein of form, says President Sam Wass: “As for the rest of the club, it’s friendly and approachable. The club is for anyone of any ability, whilst for anyone interested there are loads of competitions running, anyone is welcome at practice and will get just as good an opportunity as anyone else. The atmosphere is jovial and light hearted and it is a really nice group of people who come down and play. Every year people leave and we think the club will go down hill, but every year a new crop of talent comes in and adds more depth and dimension to a great club.”